SI Vault
Edited by Andrew Crichton
September 02, 1974
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September 02, 1974


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The wonder is that no one had thought of the idea before, but it was left to a young New York entrepreneur named Ron de Strulle to discover that there was, if not a gold mine, at least a comfortable living in a camp for dogs. The 24-year-old de Strulle, reports The New York Times, got the idea one day when he had to go out of town and the only places in Manhattan he could find to bunk down his brace of Austrian huskies offered cages filled with lice and fleas. Ergo, Campo Lindo—Spanish for beautiful field—on a 75-acre rented farm in the Catskills 160 miles north of the city.

De Strulle has developed a whole new way of life for dogs. His campers—always called that—are picked up in a white van at the "parents' " house. The cost is $40 a week or $150 a month. For $1 a day extra, campers receive "in-house" treatment, which means they get to sleep at the foot of a counselor's bed. The carefree days are taken up with nature hikes in the woods, dips in a pond on the property and sometimes treasure hunts in which the campers search for buried bones.

A typical day's schedule, posted on a wall, reads: nine a.m., feed and water campers; 9:30, check all campers for fleas and ticks and give each a good scratching; 10, exercise and play period with group activities and training lessons; 11, fresh water; noon, swimming and group activities; two p.m., rest period and fresh water; four, play period and training period; five, dinner and fresh water; 8:30, bed check (campers sleep outdoors in red doghouses) and fresh water; 11:30, final inspection. Sundays there is a barbecue with hot dogs and hamburgers and a campfire, all watched over by de Strulle and nine counselors, mostly high school and college students whose only qualification is that they like dogs.

If this all seems too decadent, says Mr. de Strulle, there is more to come: winter camp, with campers sleeping in the farm's heated barn. "In winter we can give the dogs rides on sleds," de Strulle says. "We also hope to install whirlpool baths."


Saturday ended what must have been one of the rowdiest meetings in Saratoga history. No fewer than 13 jockeys were grounded. There were the customary penalties for rough and careless riding—an area where New York stewards have, rightfully, always been stricter than their colleagues in other states—but not all the action took place on the famous old racing surface or even in the heated-up atmosphere of the jocks' room. Two riders, Sandino Hernandez and Miguel Rujano, were given days for battling one another in the parking lot, and then there was the redoubtable Eddie Belmonte, to whom trouble is no stranger.

Earlier in the year Belmonte whipped out a gun and shot his wife—fortunately not dead—and it look four cops to subdue him. Cleared by the courts, he seemed to take a new lease on life until two weeks ago, when he sallied forth as a shortstop for the jocks against a team of turf writers. The trouble began when Bill Nack of Long Island's Newsday, about twice Belmonte's size, bumped into him on the base path. Belmonte came back like a bushel of red peppers and demanded an apology. Getting none, he held his counsel, if not his temper, until after the game, when he went for Nack with a bat. He got him on the hand and seemed bent on further damage when he was stopped. Not for long, however. Belmonte followed Nack to the parking lot and punched him in the mouth.

For his Nack whacking Belmonte was given 20 days by the stewards, who later amended the punishment to 10 days, ample time, some wits thought, to brush up on his play in the infield. The only person who has had it worse this year than Belmonte or his victims is a brother in Puerto Rico. He shot his wife, too, only he killed her.


Lord Killanin, president of the International Olympic Committee, wrote a letter to President Gerald Ford shortly after he took office, expressing considerable concern that the Amateur Athletic Act (Bill S-3500), proposed by Senator James Pearson and passed in the Senate this summer (SCORECARD, July 22), would run afoul of Olympic Committee rules. He warned, in essence, that if the act became law and the five-man committee it proposes to establish meddled with U.S. sports federations affiliated with governing international bodies, the U.S. could be excluded from all international competition inside and outside the country. The IOC and international federations, wrote Lord Killanin, "always welcome and encourage government assistance to amateur sport...but they would certainly object to government interference with the autonomy of National Sports Federations or National Olympic Committees."

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